Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Strategies for Surviving on the Other Side of the Bubble

My ubiquitous travel cold seems to be receding, which is great because it gives all-new road viruses a chance to take hold! Was a glorious late summer morning here at the New Improved Secret Hidden Bunker while Newt and I were out walking. For some reason the light reminded me of late summer mornings in NYC many many years ago whenI was living in a 5th floor walk-up in Greenwich Village. I remember thinking that, man, I'd never leave the City! LOL! How things change.

I did a presentation yesterday for OC on the state of the industry, and I thought you guys might be I terested in the Cliff Notes version. Marshal and I called the top of the market in late June last year, so we're 14-15 months into the down side. I'm thinking that we're not at the bottom yet, but I suspect we'll see it before SHOT 2015. Black rifle sales are, as everybody knows, pretty much in the crapper...essentially, anyone who was even thinking about buying an AR or an AK sucked it up and bought, leaching huge amounts of "gun money" out of the system.

People are still buying black rifles, but not at the historic rates of the last couple of years. I believe we'll find a new normal pretty soon. Concealable handgun sales are holding up pretty well — concealed carry is still the primary driver for the market. Accessories are down, but not as emphatically as black rifle sales.

I'm seeing a "race to the bottom" on AR pricing. ArmaLite's $600 ARs ($900 for the 7.62s) have put a stake in the ground; the blow-out houses (Centerfire Systems, CDNN, etc.) are below that $600 stake already. I saw one deal with an AR and 5 mags for $550-ish. Keep you eye on that market niche, kids!

It could be and has been worse.


Monday, September 15, 2014

A Good Day for Congratulations!

I was all the Trijicon World Shooting Championships, presented by the NRA, at the sprawling Peacemaker facility in West Virginia, about an hour from Dulles Airport, and I think it was an absolute home run! I love the idea of testing all shooting skills to determine who is the "Undisputed World Champions" shooter for this year. Trijicon, the NRA and Peacemaker really stepped up on this one!

The winner?

Not really a huge surprise:

Daniel Horner from the Army Marksmanship Unit and arguable the top 3-Gun shooter in the world. He edged out multiple Bianchi winner Bruce Piatt and held off challenges from Jerry Miculek to claim the $50,000 purse...one of the largest in shooting sports history.

The women's title went to wait for it...wait for it...Lena Miculek — the top woman 3-Gunner, BTW — who outdistanced SHOOTING GALLERY's own Dianna Liedorf-Muller for the win.

I'm going to be talking about this on the podcast this week, but I wanted to note an interesting point. All through the match the pro shooters were telling me that victory would come down to a single stage, the Double Wobble Traps — 2 MEC wobble clay throwers on a stage that was confounding even champion trap throwers. The provided gun (this was a provided gun match to level the playing field) was a dedicated high-rib trap gun, not a piece most of the pro shooter were familiar with.

Going into the stage, Horner knew he had to deliver. And deliver he did, winning the stage. That is the definition of a champion. I believe the Trijicon World Shooting Championships will quickly become the premier shooting event in the world!

Here are the stage descriptions and the overall place finishes.

Also, a quick congrats to Mike Seeklander of THE BEST DEFENSE fame for his 3rd place overall finish (and yes, I know IDPA doesn't recognize overall place finishes!) at the IDPA Nationals in Tulsa.  Seek came in just behind Nil Jonasson in ESP, Enhanced Service Pistol, class. Of course, Bob Vogel, continuing his Terminator-like domination of IDPA, finished first overall and first in SSP, Stock Service Pistol, a staggering 23 seconds ahead of Jonasson

Here are the unofficial results!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Busy Busy Busy

Filming for SHOOTING GALLERY. Sorry to be lost in space for awhile. BTW, signed up for Winter Range, one of the largest cowboy action matches and one long considered a "shooters' match." I haven't shot Winter Range in 3 years and I'm looking forward to it early next year.

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Big Moose; Little Dog; Big Gun


I know it's a crummy iPhone pix, but check out this mack daddy moose hiding out up near the old Secret Hidden Bunker...really nice rack on the old boy. Would sure look good on the wall...LOL!

BTW, Newt is as rambunctious as a 6-month old puppy is supposed to be. Here she is with part of her massive pine cone collection.


She reminds me of my chows, always testing to see who's really the pack leader. So far, I'm winning, but it's a close thing.

Finally, while I'm cleaning pictures off the phone, here's the SHBDos Afternoon Walking Around Gun, the .454 Ruger Alaskan. The rounds in the 5 Star speed loader (and in the gun) are Winchester 260-hr hollow-points. The extra ammo in the Simply Rugged holster are Corbon 335s, in ace I'm jumped by a velociraptor driving a dump truck.


Sunday, September 07, 2014

Long Bike Sunday...

...then shopping at a garden store in Ft. Collins...barely thought about guns at all, not even the LC9 I was carrying. Came back to the Bunker and sorted through music for the podcast this week. Now I'm sitting at home watching "Outlander" and having a Leupold's Navy Strength Gin with a Fever Tree Tonic and a little lime, bemoaning the fact that this time last year I was headed to Africa. I'd so hoped to go for buffalo this year, or that damn gemsbok I walked away from on the long shot. I'm a much better rifleman now than I was last year at this time. Poorer, too. Hence, no Africa trip this year.

Strangely enough, I dream about Africa, something my friend Dwight Van Brunt, who used to run Kimber, warned me would happen. At least in November I'm going to Texas to work with my Ruger Guide Gun .300 Win Mag at longer ranges.This week I need to mount a scope on the Ruger American .22, stick a suppressor on it and thin the rabbits a bit. Only fair, since I removed the big snakes. Plus, we're having a really bad tularemia year here in the High Country, and I can do without all these bunnies.


Well, Heck!

I managed to get in a cowboy match yesterday and shot like complete crap for the first 2 stages. I'd made the decision to push myself on speed in this match (after all, no one is going to win a Cadillac, or even a Yugo). And push myself at did, right over the edge. I imagine my friend Caleb Giddings would tell me that's a good thing, since I now clearly know where the edge is, but it still sucks. I really thought I could hold myself together at that speed, but nyet! LOL! I actually had a fast run on the second stage, but managed to prove conclusively that you can't point shoot a rifle even if the target's only 12 yards away.

I did manage to get things put together by the end of the match, turning in a 25 seconds run on the last stage (10 pistol; 10 rifle; 4 shotgun), 3 seconds off the winning pace. was fun, as always.


Friday, September 05, 2014

Winter Is Coming

It's 47 degrees, socked in and misting rain here at the Secret Hidden Bunker. Not the greatest day for solar power, but we've got a pretty efficient system...not a day to run a lot of appliances! 

Or a day at the range, for that matter. Hopefully, the heavy weather will break late this afternoon, and I'll be able to hit a cowboy match this weekend. No 3-Gun or revolver on anybody's schedule.
 
I'm gald to see CCI "Tactical" .22LR apparently back in the world...I don't know whether CCI has done a run or if some of the hoarded ammo trickled out. I was skeptical when this stuff came out in 2011, thought it was a marketing ploy for the then screaming-hot black rifle market. However, it shot extremely well out of my 2 .22LR ARs...one hole groups for my primary gun, which we used in SHOOTING GALLERY to win my Appleseed "Rifleman" patch. Quite honestly, I'm going to pick up a case if I can. If not, I'll "stem and seed" it, to use Colorado terminology.

I strongly recommend you visit Bearing Arms and read Bob Owens' report on the GUNSITE 250 class. As you know, I have unconditionally recommended the 250 class to everyone who carries a gun. It is the baseline against which all other training is measured. If you take no other class, take this one.

I also note that, sadly, Tam has pulled the plug on her blog, A View from the Porch, because of long-term cyber-stalking. She left the site up for the archives. I know Tam personally, and she has struck me as a person of both great knowledge on guns and strong personal honor. We have not always agreed, but hey, that's normal. She deserves better than being run off the Internet by some A-hole in his mommy's basement.




Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Whew!

Every so often I hit a week where I'm in 2 places at once (which, as the Firesign theater once noted, means you're really nowhere at all). Listen to the podcast this week for my wrap-up on whe Boise NSSF Rimfire Challenge event, one of the largest Rimfire Challenges. It was amazingly fun, which is EXACTLY what we designed the Rimfire Challenge to be! 

I know it's driving you guys crazy, but I remain fascinated with manually operated rifles like the Browning BLR and the Ruger American. We'll be filming fornSG later this year at FTW Ranch in Texas on long-range shooting. I'm going to use the Ruger Guide Gun in .300 Win Mag that I used on out HUGELY successful Africa special last year. I've added a Burris XTR 4-20X, the baby brother of the scope I used at FTW in March.

Working on THE BEST DEFENSE scenarios now...a child abduction, as I mentioned, and a violent stalker.